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Careers in Safety Sciences
The American workplace is in the midst of profound changes. Changes in technology, operations, human and organizational behavior and attitude create the need for diverse professionals. As the work environment transitions, the demand for highly educated safety and health professionals will only continue to expand. The start of a successful career in safety and health is functionally dependent on a quality education.
Career Guide To the Safety Profession
Published by the American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, the Career Guide To the Safety Profession offers an "excellent overview of the challenging careers available to safety professionals". The Guide includes information on where safety professionals work, salary data, employment outlook, areas of specialization, and certification. This is a must read for all students considering a career in safety.
A list of career Choices
The tasks a safety and health professional performs are unlimited. A part of this diversity stems from the fact that safety and health professionals serve as a part of the organization’s management team. A professional may have a job title as a safety manager, industrial hygienist or crisis and disaster manager, but the ultimate goal is to ensure the health and safety of others. A limited listing of career choices include:
- Environmental Health and Safety Manager
- Fire Science Specialist
- Transportation Safety Manager
- Industrial Hygienist
- Loss Control Representative
- Emergency Response Coordinator
- Safety Manager
Safety and Health professionals are employed in both the public and private sectors. A survey of Safety and Health professionals reports a salary range from the low of $30,000 to more than $150,000: the more demanding the position and the higher the qualifications of the professional, the more the financial reward (American Society of Safety Engineers, 2000). Within six months of graduation, 95% of majors are employed.
Safety students should not consider the undergraduate degree as terminal. Advancement in the profession may require a master’s degree, as well as professional certification. Both a master’s degree and certification equate to higher earnings. Two of the more common certifications are the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). Certification in either case is based upon the successful completion of an examination, professional experience, and education.
Graduate Degrees Make a Financial Difference
A survey conducted by the Institute of Management and Administration reports that there is a significant difference in the pay differential between a bachelor’s and master’s degree – $10,000 per year. Twenty-two percent of the safety professionals surveyed had master’s degrees and thirty-eight percent of these earn more than $100,000 per year (Institute, 2001).